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Lewis Hamilton

Coulthard: Leclerc battle will be Hamilton's greatest F1 challenge

Ex-Formula 1 driver David Coulthard believes Lewis Hamilton will face the toughest task of his career by facing up against Charles Leclerc at Ferrari.

Hamilton Brazil
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Last week, Hamilton confirmed that he would be departing Mercedes at the end of the upcoming campaign to join Ferrari in 2025.

The seven-time World Champion will replace Carlos Sainz at the Scuderia and pair up with Leclerc, who has a long-term contract in place with the Maranello-based outfit - the move being labelled as one of the biggest driver transfers in F1 history.

Despite Hamilton's unrivalled F1 success with over 100 Grand Prix wins and almost 200 podiums, Coulthard, on his Formula For Success podcast, predicted: "I think he will find one of his biggest challenges in Charles Leclerc.

“Charles is a young [and] brilliantly fast race driver. No, he doesn’t have the World Championships and the experience of Lewis, but I think he is a champion in waiting.

"So, that may well be where Lewis finds his greatest challenge.”

Ferrari a 'retirement plan'

Coulthard conceded that he was shocked by the announcement that Hamilton would join forces with the famous Italian squad having spent so long dedicated to Mercedes.

The 13-time race winner is confident that Hamilton will walk away from F1 with Ferrari as his last team, having penned a “multi-year” contract with the squad.

“This is his retirement plan,” Coulthard said. “He is going to end his career at Ferrari, so this is about legacy, it’s about trying to win a World Championship with them.

“He can win a World Championship, the eighth, with Mercedes this year if they deliver him a race car, so he could go to Ferrari an eight-time champion and then try and add to that with them.

“I've said this before, in F1 and I'm sure it's other sports, you sign these marriage papers, your contract, and it's a beautiful thing.

“But on the same day you sign the marriage papers, you've got the divorce papers prepared because you will not spend a lifetime together."

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